When Saturday morning rolled around a giant sigh of "I can't believe vacation is almost over. It went so fast!" swooped through all of our minds and out our mouths. We were on day 6 of 7 that we spent months planning. I think we spent at least one month per day of vacation to actually plan the vacation. It was such a great spreadsheet with so many possibilities, and now, like our vacation, it was coming to an end.
But not before we went out for a famous Pinetop, Arizona breakfast delicacy at Bobbi Jo's, known as Beef Machaca & Eggs.
Bobbi Jo's is open every day of the week, so says their menu, and they make their own tortillas in house.
They also roast their own jalepenos and make their own pico de gallo and serve coffee in giant mugs like any small town dinner should. I decorated my eggs and shredded beef dish with all of the above and it was quite amazing. Sometimes the simplest things are. Rich umami and tangy rich smokey peppers emanated from the dark red sauce I poured all over it. Yum.
After breakfast we went back to the house to pack and get on the road. We were about to take the scenic route back to the Phoenix area for our final night before our respective flights and drives back home.
In absolutely no hurry we stopped to take many selfies and other photos at scenic view spots along the way through the mountains from Pinetop to Phoenix. The region provided new geological formations and topography.
We eventually made it down a few thousand feet and started driving by the operational open pit mining towns.
There is nothing like open pit mining to make you think of natural beauty. Here is a photo of the puppies that were along the road in Miami, Arizona. Note the spelling.
Just outside of Miami, past the sign that says "Miami – 1 mile long, 100 years of history," is a very special and random stop along the side of the road – a roadside Madonna shrine.
We of course stopped and took pictures, like good tourists with nothing better to do. Then we drove on from the economically depressed towns where everything along the road looked closed except the mine.
We eventually made it to Phoenix and our airport hotel in time to get a little swim in before dinner.
I chose to take in the warm weather and rays working on my blog and avoiding the splashes from children doing cannonballs into the pool near me. We also watched an entire high school or college field hockey team walk through the lobby, all sweaty and barely clothed from their afternoon drills – they did not smell very good.
The day before we debated on where our last meal in Arizona would be. Rotating restaurant or view of the city? We settled on Top of the Rock because it had a view, cool architecture, and a focus on local ingredients. It seemed like a great place for a farewell dinner to the state of Arizona.
The cocktails and wine list were surprisingly meh for the level the restaurant presented but the bread course was amazing – featuring blue corn bread.
Here is the duck confit and my cauliflower risotto – both were beautifully plated and super tasty. The risotto for being cauliflower and rice was surprisingly heavy – there could not have been any cheese or butter in its rich and creamy sauce.
We could see the sprawl of Phoenix through a crack in the rocks from our window table.
We finished with this beautiful dessert and a glass of tawny port.
It was a fitting end to a great week with friends exploring a new place. I savored my wonderful sense of appreciation for my friends and how fun it is to travel with them – these trips are always truly vacations. That night we stayed up playing a final round of pinochle until it was time to go to bed as half of us to catch a very early flight.
The rest of us still got up pretty early and went out for breakfast (beating the brunch crowd) to a fun place by Arizona State University.
Here I am color coordinating with my breakfast beverages. Nothing like double fisting coffee and a pineapple mimosa to get the motor running for an airplane ride home.
They definitely washed down this chili verdi benedict I ordered – pulled pork on top of a tortilla "cake" with a green chili hollandaise sauce with house made pico de gallo. It actually looked light and fluffy but it landed with the force of two sticks of butter. It would be good padding for the journey of airport food ahead and it tasted phenomenal.
Then vacation was over. Until the next one, when we take our great New England adventure in Boston, Maine and Cape Cod. Let the planning begin.